Planetary Cultivation

Planetary Cultivation

by Lochar

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity

An alien cultivator comes to Earth to claim the Heavens, only to find a world bereft of cultivators or a Heavenly Realm to claim. So Lei Zhaohui will force the planet's cultivation until a Heavenly Realm is formed. Should none defend the new realm, Lei Zhaohui will take it for his own.

Nicole Firen is a young woman who would just like her world to start making sense, but finds herself thrust into a position of importance as the world begins to change.

[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]

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Lochar

Lochar

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ArtNJ
Overall

At its core the plot is what if cultivation came to earth, and one normal chick happened to be very good at it?  How would her friends and parents react?  What about the media?  Does she have a significant other and do they cultivate?  Could she and her friends take a logical approach to figuring it out despite the fact that the changes are causing a global apocalpyse?

On the one hand, the writing is technically pretty good, the MC and story likeable and easy to read.

On the other hand, as someone that has read many cultivation stories, I had some difficulty with how the MC gets and stays ahead of the portion of humanity interested in cultivation.  We are to believe that society is desperately googling dantians and meridians, looking at all the crazy ideas and methods in stories and anime, but somehow basically no one but our MC gets the idea of compressing power and making a core.  Thats a big ask, given that making a core is a huge part of these stories.  While I was able to mostly put this aside, it contributed to my ongoing discomort as the main character randomly makes breakthroughs to stay ahead of the pack.  For example, for her latest breakthrough she figured out that incredibly vigorous cultivator-level excercise helps.  Ok, great, that is reasonable enough, but as a reason for the average-girl MC to continue as perhaps the literal frontrunner of the human cultivation effort it feels a bit silly.  For those familiar with the term, the MC feels like a cultivation "Mary Sue," rather than someone leading the pack because of special advantages, or anything earned.   

There is also a bit of a disconnect between the lets-work-together-and-figure-cultivation-out plot line, which is fun and easy reading, and the apocalypse plot line, which doesn't mesh properly.  Billions die, but the MC is mostly worried more about mundane things (like how high she can jump, her parents worrying or a news media interview) rather than surviving.  There are many story moments, such as the totally routine way she gets a boyfriend or interacts with her parents, that don't feel quite right given the ongoing apocalypse.  There are also a bunch of points where it seems like the author has misevaluated what would happen in an apocalypse.  For example, days after two global disasters killing billions one of the characters says "I bet there will be a run on groceries soon."  Soon?  Um, no.  There would have been rationing and riots days earlier.  A tiny, almost inconsequential point, but there are a lot of these, and collectively they bothered me some.  

Bottom line, this is an easy to read and likable story for folks that like cultivation stories, and I'm still reading and enjoying it.  However there are some problems with it that may put some readers off.    

Dreydfaer
Overall

Small irritations mar a good story

Reviewed at: Chapter 21: Realignment

I really enjoy 80% of this novel, and was having a hard time really nailing down the 20% that made me frustrated. I'll get to what I found shortly, but need to lead with: you should try this story out. It might not be your cup of tea, but it really could surprise even people that aren't generally fans of the cultivation genre.

 

The outline of this story is solid, most of the details are meaningful, and you generally have a good reading experience that makes sense. Occasionally, though, you hit a snag on small(ish) details and a strange dissonance occurs. It lingers for a while, spoiling the enjoyment you were previously getting. Sometimes this feeling stays long enough to collide with another jarring point, other times enough quality writing goes by that you start to forget the part that seemed weird.

 

Many people are more than happy to overlook these points in the story, or in fact don't view them as issues! If that happens for you, this is probably a 5/5 story. Have fun with it, and I hope to meet up with you in further chapters, happy.

 

A few examples for potential readers and the author:

1) Regular life seems to be happening throughout the world an awful lot for how absolutely insane everything going on is. Any time a "down scene" occurs - like MC going to a bar with their friends to find a hook-up, deciding to go on a trip to the lake, or even the fact that classes are just...continuing, I find myself thinking about how the story opened with an alien showing up and every plane in the world crashing. People then got 'superpowers'. Some stories take things too far with the abnormal occuring, this one goes the other way with too much 'normal' occurring.

2) The MC, well this part is spoilery: 

She ends up bound in a contract with a super weirdly designed college research group on superpowers. Ignore the fact that she was apparently raised in a household that seems to have prepared her for at least thinking about contracts before jumping into them, and consider that she just decides a five year (I believe) commitment to a group with financial ramifications is a smart idea when they admittedly are just collating information from people stumbling their way through superpower research. She is literally shown doing research through multiple sources, creating a working meteorlogical theory beyond what anyone in her class is apparently doing, and therefore should at the very least have access to or knowledge of scientific journals. Much better introduction to the next part of the story than a really sketchy college group with penalty fees.

She ends up working under a DARPA grant. This is cool! I like the different approach in this environment where the government doesn't seem to be screwing over the MC, and they are in fact working together. This is an interesting plot point that you honestly don't see often (mainly because its easier to have the government be some sort of "bad" in cultivation novels). 

It's just...well. She's apparently one of four people in the world to have done cultivation the "right" way from the start, and she seems to be pretty good, or at least fast, at it. A logical approach once you're in a setup where you have resources would be to immediately offload the stuff you already know to people that can work through it, and have the one person that can keep going further do that. In an hour or two she can have almost every researcher trying to work the project create a dantian. Then she can continue on to breakthrough further - she seems to think (and its reasonable to assume) that further breakthroughs are needed to beat up their alien friend, so why is everyone so blasé about actually doing it?

3) She, and most people, want to defeat the alien. She knows exactly how to grow stronger and breakthrough in her cultivation, in terms of opening dantians that is. Events occur that make them, possibly the whole world, feel like they're on a timer. Why is there so much down time then? Someone with the stated goal of trying to help the world would probably need to be forced to take time off, right?

 

I know I sound negative about this novel, but I enjoy most of it. The parts I don't enjoy make me upset though, because they really sour an otherwise delightful experience.

ThousandOdysseys
Overall

Love the realism of the slow societal collapse

Reviewed at: Chapter 27: Spiritual Growth

Lochar has done a real good job of depicting the slow collapse of a government and country. 
In fact, at the point that I am writing --ch29-- the collapse hasn't even fully happened yet. 
The reason that I am waxing poetic about this point, is that in every other post apocalyptic story that I have read, The Big Disaster happens, and done. Society no more. 

In this story, the world has been hit over and over with different disasters. 
Yet bureaucracy is still limping on, people haven't all suddenly become staunch anarchists, and averagely good people still exist.

 

 

Katana1515
Overall

Charting the aftermath of some kind of power system coming to Earth is hardly a new concept for Royal Road, but this story approaches the concept with a down to earth deftness that really refreshes the idea.

Its definitely not another story about murderhobo MC on his quest to endlessly acquire more Shinies. Instead we have a more grounded tale where Nicole and the readers are travelling together to unpick the mysteries of this strange new world.

I think rejecting the LITRPG tropes common to this subgenre has really helped the author keep that air of mystery intriguing. This goes a long way toencourage those of us following the story to theorycraft what the actual mechanics of cultivation might be in this new world.

So come join us as we ponder the Planetary Dao!

Dartmorin
Overall

Instead of a pallete swap, this modern cultivation story truly is one. Instead of cultivators leaving in a world with modern technology, or cultivation becoming possible in a post-modern (post-)apocalyptic society, here we have a scenario where cultivation emerges in a slightly future version of our current world. It is in part a rationalist approach to it, but the MC does not fetishize the scientific method. There are pressures being placed on them, and I would not call it Slice-of-Life, and the MC does stand out from the crowd, but there are no constant life or death battles, and no current necessity for it.

Red Bird
Overall

This is one of the better cultivation novels I have seen in my time. 

I absolutely love the author's take on cultivation and the realistic portrayal of how the real world would react to it. And it is definitely a change from the classic murderhobo protagonist that plagues many other novels with the same idea.

It is also a greatly appreciated change from the cliche power levels in traditional cultivation novels, and instead the path to achieve greater strength is not clearly defined but murky and mysterious.

Thanks for posting this story, this is a good one.

Jackpot-kun
Overall

This is the kind of story that people come to this site to look for, I think.

The kind of story that reminds you of why you fell in love with a specific genre to begin with.

I'm not going to bother going into detail, because I think that defeats the whole purpose of a lite review, but what I will say, is that, while this story is not perfect, it is as close as it gets.

Like my review title says, this is a splendid work of fiction.

But don't take my word for it. Read the first two chapters, I Dare you to drop it after.

solopath
Overall

Planetary Cultivation offers an honest look at what it might be like if cultivation came to earth instead of any sort of system. The characters feel real, and their reactions to this new branch of magic is highly enjoyable. Worth reading if you like cultivation, or system novels, or novels about figuring out systems.

Rowing Saylor
Overall

This novel is just starting out but is pretty fun to read so far. It is a slower read than most cultivation novels but also avoids most of the painful tropes. The side characters don't feel flat and it is somewhat a scientific diary of discovering cultivation, no flashy fights so far. I'm currently 20 chapters in and it is sticking with being research but...

it may include some apocalypse or post-apocalypse elements depending on how things go.

 

Snakefist
Overall

I don’t usually like xianxias, but this story was really enjoyable even if it was unrealistic to some extent. I have only two complaints, they are not really deal brakers, but they are there.

An alien cultivator comes to Earth to consume the planet’s soul or something like that, but upon discovery that there is no cultivation on Earth he issues a challenge. He is going to cultivate the Earth’s soul until Heavenly realm is accessible and if no human manages to beat him with their own cultivation, then he wins and does whatever cultivators do with a planet’s soul. My problem with this is that on one side we have who knows how old cultivator, that probably knows everything there is to know about cultivation, and on the other, normal humans that not only have to cultivate faster than him, but also discover what cultivation is. A race between an immortal master and ignorant human pioneers of cultivation. It’s difficult to explain how someone that blindly stumbles through cultivation would be faster than someone that knows what they are doing. It’s not impossible, but you would need to stretch it quite a bit.

My second complaint is that the author is underestimating what would be the effect on human society after some of the events of this story. Chapter 21 should bring an end of what we consider normal human society. I don’t want to spoil the story, but let’s just say that many costal cities are no longer costal. That would bring an end to world trading because most of it is done via ships. Food and oil shortages would be the most obvious, collapse of the world economy, massive riots and lootings. People went ballistic because someone said there won’t be enough toilet paper, and we all know how that turned out. Now imagine what would happen if you could see the end of the world on TV.

Aside from that it’s really fun. A scientific approach to cultivation, as scientific as it can be when it comes to mystical mumbo jumbo. A group of people with Nicole at the front try to discover what cultivation is and try to beat the alien to the finish line. They do tests, experiments and push the boundary of human knowledge.

It’s early days, but it’s entertaining and very well written. There are some minor grammatical mistakes or duplicate words but nothing that noticeable. I’m very interested in how this story will develop. That collapse of society is slowly showing its head even though it should have already happened, but it should impact the story in interesting ways if they not only have to cultivate but also survive in a borderline post-apocalyptic world.

I fully recommend this even if you are not a xianxia reader.